2006-04-27 / News

Here's how to mow the yard efficiently

By Andrew McGlothlen

It's the most common weed in the United States. It plagues the minds of millions of Americans weekly. It takes hours of time to combat over the course of a year, and it just keeps coming.

What is it? It's grass, and while most people do not think of it as problematic, it can take up a lot of effort and time over any given year. If you want to keep your grass alive, you have to learn to take care of it.

Everyone knows that when the weather is dry, you should water your lawn. When the leaves fall, you should rake them up, and when grass is seeding, you should stay off it. However, how many know the most efficient way to mow grass? This issue often gets overlooked, even though it is one of the most time-consuming parts of having a lawn.

There are several key tips to mowing your lawn more effectively.

For one, use your grass to grow your grass. If you mow your grass after it grows about an inch or so and leave the clippings, the clippings can actually decompose and help the grass be healthier. This natural composting system also keeps you from having to rake up the grass clippings.

However, if you wait too long, the clippings will be too large and you will have to rake them anyway. It can actually save you time to mow your lawn weekly. Keep in mind that grass grows very slowly when rain is scarce, but a good storm or two can cause it to sprout up rapidly.

Another tip is to avoid clumping of grass clippings. If left behind, they can kill your grass by blocking sunlight and increasing temperatures as they decay. One key factor in clumping grass is moisture.

Do not mow your lawn while the dew is still on it or after a big rain. The moisture will cause the grass to clump and stick to your mower blades as well as accelerate oxidation.

Another good way to avoid clumps and wear and tear on your mower blades is to set up a mental path around your lawn. The path does not have to be the same from week to week, so get creative. For the first two rounds, aim the grass clippings toward your lawn. For the next two rounds, blow the clippings back to the edge of the lawn without filling the sidewalk or fence.

If you do not switch directions, your mower will become progressively slower as it cuts more clippings than live grass. If you do switch directions and you regulate how often you mow, you will have a nice even coat of clippings. If you see more clippings than live grass in any area, you need to rake. While paths and timing may save you most of your raking, fast-growing or wet grass can clump and cause problems.

These tips should help you make the most of that ever-popular weed known as grass. Follow them and you're sure to have a beautiful lawn.

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